They didn't quite live up to their ranking.
At home on Sunday, No. 19 Northwestern (22-3, 12-2 B1G) barely beat Nebraska (16-10, 6-9) by a score of 60-56. The ’Cats trailed closely for the majority of the game, and two of the best players — Lindsey Pulliam and Abbie Wolf — struggled mightily. Thankfully, Veronica Burton and Jordan Hamilton stepped up to be the team's highest-scoring players of the game. While Northwestern did end up winning, their performance against the Huskers was hard to celebrate.
Pulliam, who is often a key player for the ’Cats, scored once in the first five minutes of the game, but then didn't make any points until the last five minutes of the game, when she helped bring the team to victory.
Taking over, Burton scored 21 points, double Hamilton’s 10 points as the second-highest scorer. While the team is normally well-balanced and spread out for who’s scoring, the ’Cats struggled to keep their offense together despite the Huskers’ poor defense. Wolf also contributed to the team’s woes as she went 2-12 for her field goals, missing wide-open layups and traveling.
Nebraska had a lead over Northwestern for a combined 29 minutes of the game, while Northwestern held a lead for only 7 minutes, demonstrating that without Pulliam’s ability to come in clutch towards the end of the game with a jumper to take the lead, the ’Cats would have had an embarrassing loss to the Huskers.
Northwestern shot 28.8 percent from the field, and their only reliable source of points came from a strong free throw percentage of 89.5. Their offensive plan in the second half was to draw fouls, hoping to slow down the clock and put their players on the free-throw line to inch their score closer to Nebraska’s. The Wildcats also relied on the Huskers’ poor offense, scoring 21 points off of turnovers, but allowing only nine points on their own turnovers.
The ’Cats play again at home on Wednesday against Rutgers (18-7, 8-6).